Drive to reduce call-outs to chimney blazes

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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A NEW safety leaflet has been produced by firefighters to reduce the number of chimney fires.

Since the beginning of the year, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has been called to more than 180 chimney fires.

With the prospect of another cold winter, the fire service wants to remind householders to make sure their chimneys are swept and well-maintained before lighting up.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has joined forces with the National Association of Chimney Sweeps and The Guild of Master Sweeps to urge householders to book appointments now before its too late.

Area manager Steve Trevethick said: ‘An open fire is ideal to keep warm in the winter, but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous.

‘The latest statistics show that there are approximately 6,000 chimney fires a year in England, and most of these are preventable.

‘Here in Hampshire we are experiencing a higher rate of chimney fires than the national average and it is an area that we are keen to drive down. Chimney fires can become more serious if they spread out of the stack.’

Martin Glynn, president of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps, said: ‘All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked ideally during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.’ For a copy of the leaflet call 023 8062 6809.